Rockin' The Country with Joe Don Rooney: Crafting Wailing Lead Phrases, and My “Life Is a Highway” Solo

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This video is bonus content related to the March 2014 issue of Guitar World. For the full range of interviews, features, tabs and more, pick up the new issue on newsstands now, or in our online store.

Last month, I detailed the main rhythm guitar parts I play in Rascal Flatts’ cover of the Tom Cochrane song “Life Is a Highway,” which we had recorded back in 2006 for the Disney/Pixar animated film Cars and subsequently included as a bonus track on our album Me and My Gang.

This month I’d like to talk about some of the lead licks I play in the song, which were born in the studio and have since evolved somewhat over the course of countless live shows.

“Life Is a Highway” was the first song for which we had the opportunity and honor to work with legendary producer Dan Huff, who is also an awesome guitarist with renowned country and hard rock credentials.

Dan’s creative guidance with our arrangement proved invaluable, helping to make the song one of our biggest hits and kind of a heartland-rock anthem that has since become a concert staple for us. The song has such great energy and really gets audiences on their feet, which is why we like to save it for the end of our set, as a climactic grand finale.